Friendly attacks another challenge for ANDSF

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:24 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 74 times

Airstrikes targeting Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in addition to civilians have been on the rise.  Afghan forces, who are leading heavy battles against militants with very little resources and are currently faced with enormous challenges because of corruption and weak leadership, are faced with a new threat on the battlefields besides the enemy, the so called friendly attacks.

 

After a deadly airstrike in Logar about two months ago in which 16 Afghan forces were killed, another airstrike targeted Afghan forces on Sunday in the Garmsir district of volatile Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. According to reports, 10 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Force have been killed and more than a dozen others wounded in the raid. While it is still not fully clear whether the strike was conducted by Afghan Air Force (AAF) or US troops, Helmand governor has claimed that helicopters belonging to Afghan forces have carried out the attack, while his spokesman has said the provincial governor has held an emergency meeting with foreign troops based in the province.

If the airstrike was conducted by AAF, there is no justification to hold a meeting with foreign troops. No matter whoever has carried out the attack, Afghan forces who are at the forefront of the war on terror and who have made more sacrifices than anyone else have suffered heavy casualties.

Airstrikes, especially in a war fought in residential areas is the most dangerous weapon because even a minor mistake can cause major tragedies. Thus, strict rules should be put in place for the use of air power by both Afghan or foreign troops. All aerial strikes should be launched based on accurate information and precise coordinates, without which any attacks that inflict casualties on civilians or ANDSF will strengthen than weaken the militants.   

Leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) and their western allies should try to prevent than whitewash or justify such attacks. They must not allow the so called friendly fire to weaken the morale of Afghan forces besides other challenges they are currently faced with, and strengthen the militants to an extent where they can topple the regime.